The Cacadu region, Eastern Cape
Did you know?
The Addo Elephant National Park sustains one of the densest African elephant populations on earth.
As the largest district in the Eastern Cape, the Cacadu Region lays claim to great natural, cultural and historical diversity that will captivate and inspire you.
It comprise six areas: the Karoo, Baviaanskloof, Addo, Tsitsikamma, Jeffreys Bay, the Sunshine Coast and Grahamstown.
The Karoo, with its vast, desert plains and odd-looking mountains, has huge allure for visitors. Here you can visit the Valley of Desolation, an intriguing geological formation of weathered rock, formed millions of years ago, that now falls within the Camdeboo National Park close to the historic town of Graaff Reinet. If you're looking to up your cultural quota further, be sure to factor in a visit to the surreal Owl House at the neighbouring village of Nieu Bethesda.
Baviaanskloof, or ‘valley of baboons', is another major regional attraction comprising a 192 000 hectare conservation area teeming with game and birdlife and offering a number of adventure and nature-based activities with plentiful accommodation.
Addo and Tsitsikamma feature two prominent South African parks, namely the famous Addo Elephant National Park, home to more than 450 African elephants, and the Garden Route National Park, one of the country's adventure tourism hotspots, featuring the world's highest commercial bungee jump.
If sun and sea are on your agenda, look no further than Cacadu's Sunshine Coast and Jeffreys Bay. The Sunshine Coast is a delightful coastal tourism route featuring small seaside resorts and beautiful beaches, while Jeffreys Bay is South Africa's surf capital and one of the best surfing spots in the world.
The university town of Grahamstown forms the epicentre of what is called Frontier Country, an area where the Eastern Cape's 100-year frontier wars played out. Several national heritage sites in and around the area speak to its historical, and cultural, significance.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
The Eastern Cape Tourism Board
Tel: +27 (0)43 701 9600
How to get here
Fly direct from any of South Africa’s major cities to Port Elizabeth International Airport. If you’re driving; from Johannesburg take the N1 south and then the N9 after Colesberg. Pick up the N10 at Middleburg to Port Elizabeth. If travelling from Cape Town and Durban, take the N2 east and west respectively to Port Elizabeth.
Best time to visit
The Cacadu region is an all-year-round destination, due to its warm climate, although the Karoo can be subjected to temperature extremes in the height of winter and summer.
Tours to do
The Tsitsikamma Adventure Route, Langkloof Fruit Route, Baviaans Route, Blue Crane Route, Mohair Route, Merino Route and Owl Route.
As the region is large and far flung, the best way to get around is by car.
Length of stay
Exploring the region could take many days. However, shorter day trips can also be planned.
The Grahamstown National Arts Festival takes place each July. Don’t miss the Rose Festival, taking place at Addo in October, and the Kirkwood Wildlife Festival, also at Addo, in June.